UCR Participates in US News National Leadership Conference

The subject is increasing student interest and job success in the fields of science and technology

Chicano Student Program’s Raza graduation ceremony. Carrie Rosema


UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and two other UCR higher education experts will participate and present at the upcoming national US News STEM Solutions conference in San Diego.

The conference, to be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt from June 29 through July 1, will bring together national leaders in higher education, industry, government and beyond to discuss ways to advance the STEM preparation of students from K-12 to college and beyond.

Also presenting on panels at the event will be Thomas M. Smith, dean of the UCR Graduate School of Education, and Suveen Mathaudhu, UCR assistant professor of mechanical engineering and an expert on the science of superheroes.

“STEM” stands for science, technology, engineering, and math – key proficiency areas that often seen as difficult to master by many students at all educational levels. The national STEM movement has for several years sought to enrich STEM education and to increase the numbers of women and students of color in seeking degrees in technical and scientific fields.

US News & World Report Editor Brian Kelly and Chief Content Officer has boiled down the importance of STEM education in this way:  “It’s about jobs….It’s a key to the U.S. economy, representing the growing disconnect between the skills that employers need in an increasingly technological world and the talent—or lack thereof—that the education system produces.”

UC Riverside has been recognized as the most diverse large research university in the U.S. and as a national leader in diversity in higher education. The campus of 22,000 students brings together students of all backgrounds, and has achieved near parity in graduation rates by student ethnicity and gender groups.  Under Wilcox, the campus is a founding member of the University Innovation Alliance comprised of 11 large American public universities seeking to maximize student outcomes through collaboration.

UCR is also a U.S. Department of Education [HIS] “Hispanic-Serving Institution,” and a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. About 37 percent of UCR undergraduates identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino.  Almost 57 percent of UCR undergraduates are first in their families to pursue a college degree to completion.

UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox will take part in the panel discussion:

“The HBCU and HSI Advantage”
Monday, June 29, 2015, from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox Peter Phun

UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox
Peter Phun

Kim A. Wilcox, Ph.D., Chancellor, University of California, Riverside
Ricardo Romo, Ph.D., President, University of Texas at San Antonio
Brian Johnson, Ph.D., President, Tuskegee University
Mark D. Vaughn, Ph.D., Technical Talent Pipelining Manager; Corning Inc.

Panel description:  Historically black colleges and universities award a large share of bachelor’s degrees to African-American students in STEM fields. Consider that only about 10 percent of African-American college students are enrolled at an HBCU, and yet these institutions graduate some 20 percent of black STEM bachelor’s degree-earners; in some disciplines they produce up to half of graduates. A similar phenomenon is occurring with Hispanic-serving institutions, which enroll about half of all Hispanic undergraduates and award roughly one-fifth of STEM bachelor’s degrees to students from these backgrounds. What are HBCUs and HSIs doing right when it comes to preparing underrepresented students for STEM careers? Join us as we hear from leaders of several minority-serving institutions about their proven and promising strategies in STEM.

UCR Graduate School of Education Dean Thomas M. Smith will present on the panel:

“Teaching the New Standards: Ramping Up STEM Professional Development”

Tuesday, June 30, 2015, from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Cynthia Pulkowski, Executive Director, ASSET STEM Education
Thomas M. Smith, Ph.D., Dean and Professor, Graduate School of Education, UCR
Kirk Walters, Ph.D., Principal Researcher, Education Program, American Institute for Research
Patrick D’Amelio, Chief Executive Officer, Washington STEM (moderator)

headshot of Thomas Smith.

Thomas Smith, dean of the Graduate School of Education.

Description:  Recent Gallup polling shows that many teachers across the country remain split in their opinions of the Common Core standards, with those who are most familiar with the benchmarks viewing them more favorably. As states inch toward full implementation and testing on the new material, veteran and novice educators are participating in workshops, webinars and a host of other training programs to help understand the new standards. In addition, professional learning communities are showing great promise. This session will feature insight from several organizations that are making great strides in professional development for the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

UCR Bourns College of Engineering Assistant Professor Suveen Mathaudhu will present on the panel:

“Enlightening Minds”

Wednesday, July 1, 2015, from 9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.


Suveen Mathaudhu holding a Captain American shield.

Suveen Mathaudhu, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and a expert on the science of superheroes.

Suveen Mathaudhu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Riverside
Barbara Oakley
, Ph.D., Professor of Engineering, Oakland University; Visiting Scholar, University of California, San Diego
Sara Clarke, Assistant Managing Editor, Special Reports, U.S. News & World Report (moderator)

Description:  What are some ways that people who struggle with math can retrain their brains to find success? What do comic book superheroes have to teach us about engineering? This session will feature speakers who are working to help others see STEM in a new light and enrich their understanding of the field. Listen in, and prepare to be enlightened.


Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

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